Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-Day Adventism and the American Dream

Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-Day Adventism and the American Dream

Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-Day Adventism and the American Dream

Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-Day Adventism and the American Dream


The completely revised second edition further explores one of the most successful of America's indigenous religious groups. Despite this, the Adventist church has remained largely invisible. Seeking a Sanctuary casts light on this marginal religion through its socio-historical context and discusses several Adventist figures that shaped the perception of this Christian sect.


SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM is one of the most subtly differentiated, systematically developed, and institutionally successful of all alternatives to the American way of life. A nineteenth-century religious sect that observes a seventhday Sabbath, proclaims the imminent end of the world, and practices health reform, Seventh-day Adventism is now on the way to becoming a major world religion. It already has more than fourteen million members, plus a similar number of unbaptized children and casual adherents. During the last century, it consistently doubled its membership every fifteen years or less, with the rate accelerating over time. Even if the current rate of growth were to slow, there is every reason to suppose that by the mid-twenty-first century there will be over 100 million adherents to Adventism worldwide.

Although its membership has overtaken that of the Latter-day Saints and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventism is still largely ignored. Unlike the Mormons and the Witnesses, Adventists have never gained notoriety through open opposition to the state. But neither do they form part of the Protestant mainstream that sustains the national religious identity. In this, as in other respects, Adventism seems ambiguous. This book argues that the ambiguity of Adventism’s relationship to America is the source of its identity and global success.

If the American dream can be defined, it would include the following elements: (1) the belief that the American Revolution created a state uniquely blessed by God in which human beings have unprecedented opportunities for self-realization and material gain; (2) the conviction that the American nation, through both example and leadership, offers hope for the rest of the world; and (3) the assumption that it is through individual, rather than collective, effort that the progress of humanity will be achieved.

In their formative years, the Seventh-day Adventists rejected the essentials of the American myth. They did not accept that the republican experiment . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.